In the Austro-Hungarian Empire, on the year of 1864 in Istria were held elections for the Provincial Parliament. From the very beginning, Parliament dealt with the problems of agriculture as the most important economic sectors. Consequently Parliament on 5th September of 1874th made a decision on the establishment of provincial-fruit winery station (Stazione eno-pomologica Provinciale), headquartered in Poreč. The station began operations in April 1875. On 8th February 1883 they established agricultural school. This activity, along with research in agriculture and the knowledge and technology application of research’s extended to education.
Institute of Agriculture and Tourism in Poreč (hereinafter referred to as “The Institute”) based its historical sequence on the development process of over 138 years of existence, acting on the whole territory of Istria through the following scientific and educational legal forms:
- 1875 - Stazione eno-pomologica Provinciale (Provincial eno-pomological centre)
- 1887 - Istituto Agraria - Stazione Sperimentale (Agricultural Institute - Experimental Station)
- 1937 - Istituto Tecnico Agrario (Agricultural Technical Institute)
- 1945 - Vocational Technical High School of Agriculture
- 1954 - Institute for Advancement of Management
- 1955 - Agricultural Station
- 1961 - College of Agriculture
- 1966 - Agricultural High School
- 1971 - High School Centre
- 1978 - Centre of directed education
- 1984 - Agricultural Research Centre,
- 1989 - Institute for Agriculture and Tourism - Scientific research work organization
- 1996 - Institute for Agriculture and Tourism - Public research institute in Croatia
Since the establishment, the Institute has resolved critical issues and problems of the Istrian agriculture: growing vines on a north American base, protection of vineyards from diseases - peronospora, mildew, etc.; renewal of vineyards and the introduction of high-quality grape varieties, improving wine production, improving agricultural practices in fruit, especially olive, modernization of crop production wheat), livestock production (cattle), vegetable production, etc.
The first director of the Institute (Experimental Station) was Emil von Mayerbach (1875), while the most striking work’s accomplished by the director Carlo Hugues (1882.-1899.). He was a versatile world recognized expert who advocated the triple effect of the Institutes activities: Research - Application - Education.
With the establishment of the Agricultural Science Center (1984.) at the Center for primary education in Poreč), begins the modern scientific research in agriculture and tourism, which was from beginning of the sixties of the 20th century neglected.
Department of Agriculture and Nutrition
Department performs permanent scientific-research activities and professional work in the framework of biotechnological sciences. Researches are mostly orientated to viticulture, wine-production, production of olives and olive oil, vegetable growing and ecology. Olive, grapevine, fig and other experimental plantations and laboratories are the basis for a variety of applied investigations. In the Department are active four laboratories: Wine Laboratory, Food Technology and Biotechnology Laboratory, Soil Laboratory and Genetic Laboratory.
These laboratories form the basis for scientific research but are also an important infrastructure support for the development of the agricultural sector in Istria. Scientific researches in agriculture and ecology refer to the study of specific issues / topics in:
- Olive growing
- Olive oil investigation
- Vegetable growing
- Development of agri-food products
- Protected area management
- Sustainable development.
Department of Economics and Agriculture Development
Department of Economics and Agricultural Development perform continual scientific researches and professional work in the field of agricultural economics and organization oft he agriculture and the food system, spatial planning and protection and rural development.
Scientific research and professional activities are related to study of economics and socio-economic characteristics of family farms, agricultural businesses and marketing research in agriculture.
Professional activity of researchers of the Department refers to the analysis of business enterprises, development of investment studies and studies in agriculture and rural tourism, and education through lectures and participation in teaching as associates.
Department of Tourism
Activity of the Department of Tourism at the Institute of Agriculture and Tourism encompasses scientific, teaching and professional work in the social science, field of economics. Mission of the Department of Tourism include a conduction of scientific research in the scope of tourism, particularly tourism on rural area and special interest tourism, as well as application of the scientific research results in private sector. Research topics encompass valorisation of tourism resources on rural area of Istria County and the development of the appropriate tourist product. Since there is a relationship between agriculture and tourism in the development of tourist product, research activities of the Department of Tourism incorporate these two fields creating a high quality scientific outputs.
Besides scientific research, Department of Tourism maintainsa high quality network with private sector, which incorporates both scientific and professional aspects. These aspects include regional development as a quality of life promotion process within a sustainable ecosystem, informational and advisory support for tourism businesses, encouragement of new trends in tourism, creation of knowledge based on research and education, training and support of local population in the area of the competitive development of small and medium-size agrotourisms, scientific and development projects and various studies for private sector and community which have direct influence on spatial plans. These activities imply that Department of Tourism is very proactive in knowledge transfer.
Institute’s Experimental agricultural estate is a valuable resource that serves as the infrastructural support for the scientific research in viticulture, olive and vegetable-growing, as the area for executing field experiments. It consists of vineyards, olive and fig orchards, arable land and a forest. Experimental agricultural estate represents a place for in field professional discussions and meetings for scientists, experts and students from Croatia and abroad.
The experimental vineyards
The Institute has several experimental vineyards in which scientific and technical research is conducted. Grapes grown in these vineyards are also used for enology research conducted at the Institute’s wine cellar.
The collection of Istrian autochthonous grapevine varieties was planted gradually, over a period from 2005 to 2012. Here are collected varieties as Istrian Malvasia, Teran, Muscat Rose, Muscat momjanski, Borgonja, Hrvatica, Plavina (Surina), Vela pergola, etc. Buds for grafting these varieties were collected from different Istrian vineyards older than 40 years, located throughout the Istrian peninsula. This ensures that the plant material does not originate from commercial nurseries and guarantees its authenticity. This valuable collection represents a gene bank of Istrian grapevine varieties, which is particularly valuable in terms of preservation of some nearly extinct Istrian autochthonous varieties. The surface of this vineyard is 0.79 hectares.
Collection of introduced grapevine varieties was planted in 2006. It is represented by the following grapevine varieties: Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc, Muscat blanc, Moscato giallo, Incrocio Manzoni, Grenache blanc, Pinot blanc, Pinot gris, Pinot noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet franc, Refosco dal pedunculo rosso, Grenache noir, Gamay noir and Barbera. The purpose of this collection is to investigate the characteristics of introduced grapevine varieties in the conditions of West Istria vine growing region. In this vineyard various technological experiments in viticulture and enology are conducted. The surface of this plantation is 0.60 hectares.
Another vineyard represents a collection of Istrian Malvasia variety grafted on different rootstocks and a collection of commercially available Istrian Malvasia clones. It was planted in 2012. Istrian Malvasia (clone VCR4) is grafted on four different rootstocks (SO4, K5BB, 110R and 420A), spatially separated in five repetitions. Seven different clones of Istrian Malvasia (VCR4, VCR113, VCR114, VCR115, VCR22, VCR393 and FVG121) are planted on the same rootstock (SO4), spatially separated in three repetitions. The purpose of this vineyard is to investigate how different rootstocks affect the productive characteristics of Istrian Malvasia and to compare the productive and quality characteristics of different clones of Istrian Malvasia. This vineyard is also used to conduct different technological experiments on Istrian Malvasia, as the most important Istrian variety, which is planted on nearly 60% of Istrian vineyards. The surface of this plantation is 0.46 hectares.